SPOTLIGHT – Hailey Czerwinski

Welcome to the fourth “spotlight” blog post featuring one of the student leaders of SEA & KDP at Governors State University!

Spotlight Left   This week, our spotlight leader is:   Spotlight Right
SEA Membership & Activities and KDP Treasurer


Hailey Czerwinski is a 21 year old student in the Early Childhood Education program with endorsements in Special Education and ESL at Governors State University. She aspires to teach kindergarten students when she graduates with her bachelors degree. 

One of her fondest memories at GSU is when she met Sandy the therapy dog in the library. At the time, Hailey was recovering from the loss of her own dog and was stressed with school and work. Also, she never knew why she kept getting so many emails about meeting the therapy dog. When she finally had the pleasure of making it’s acquaintance, Hailey claims that it was an amazing experience. She was given the opportunity to play with Sandy which really helped her relax and relieve some of her stress for the time being.

In her free time, Hailey simply loves to make things. She’s skilled at crocheting and painting. In addition, she enjoys anything involving arts and crafts because it helps her relax. On a perfect day, you may find Hailey curled up on her couch reading an adventurous story, solving a puzzle, or participating in an escape room. She loves any activity that challenges her mind! 

In the past, Hailey has had the opportunity to hold exotic animals, which she recommends everyone to try at least once. She has held six large Macaw Parrots (at one time), an albino python, and a spider monkey. She believes each and every one to be once in a lifetime experience. Due to her willingness to hold these animals, Hailey now has interesting stories to tell. For instance, as she was holding the Macaw Parrots, one of them decided to hold her braid in its beak. She has a picture of this occurrence and loves to share it with others. One day, she would love to go skydiving. Her boyfriend’s sister went a few years ago and Hailey was too scared to go. However, now, she’s determined to try it because of her desire to be adventurous. 

While at home, Hailey often watches the Harry Potter series whenever it’s playing on TV. She owns every DVD and book and claims that she can never get sick of them. She may also watch her favorite TV-show, The Big Bang Theory, while eating some sort of Italian dish involving pasta. Hailey can eat pasta for any meal of the day. The rooms in her house would either smell like citrus or a light base bleach cleaner, both of which she loves the scent of. 

Ever since she was little, Hailey had always been shy which prevented her from experiencing new things and being social. Most of the time, she would keep to herself and try not to draw too much attention. However, now, she is proud to say that she has overcome her shyness and it’s mainly due to her experiences at GSU. She lives by one of her favorite quotes, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions” – Stephen Covey. She has made the decision not to let her shyness stop her from doing anything.

When she’s not attending class, Hailey’s probably working at her job as a teacher at a daycare. She runs the before and after school program where she helps 5-11 year old students with their homework and continue any reading or writing programs that they are involved in at school. This job opportunity certainly coincides with her career choice. While being a teacher suits her personality and skills, being a waitress surely doesn’t. If she was ever given the chance to pursue this job choice, Hailey believes she would be terrible at it because she’s very clumsy and she would end up dropping food all over her customers. Certainly, she wouldn’t last long as a waitress. Regardless, the movie title that would best describe her life is “Young Adult” because she’s slowly but surely becoming a young adult and taking on more and more responsibilities of an adult as she continues her education and contributes to the working world. 

If Hailey had to choose one thing she couldn’t live without, it would be her family and boyfriend’s family. On a daily basis, they motivate and push her to do better. Being around them makes her incredibly happy. Without a doubt, they encourage her to do things beyond what she ever thought she could or would ever do. In fact, she looks forward to spending time with both families over the holidays. Hailey believes this time of the year to be the one time where conflicts stop, everyone gathers, and is just happy to get together. 

The person that Hailey looks up to the most is her mother. Unfortunately, Hailey’s mother didn’t have a good childhood and didn’t complete high school. She was not encouraged to continue or finish her schooling, which she had a hard time performing well at. However, Hailey’s mother knew she had to get her GED and continue her education so she fought for years to finish school even though she struggled constantly. Finally, her mother obtained her GED. received her CNA license, and is currently working on her Phlebotomy licence. Hailey very much looks up to her mother because of her hard work, perseverance, and dedication. She admires the fact that her mother never let anyone tell her that she couldn’t do something.

In the next 10 years, Hailey is looking forward to starting her career as an early childhood teacher. In addition, she aspires to continue her education by getting a degree in social work. She wants to be able to help children both at an educational level and on levels where others cannot. Family matters and her current experiences in the ECE program have really influenced her to go forward with her education and to try her best to help children even more. 

Down the road, Hailey wants to be remembered for her organizational skills. It wasn’t until she attended high school that she became very organized with her school work and in her personal life. One of her teachers helped her become organized and gave her so many useful tools that she still uses to this day. She claims that organization is something that so many people struggle with and it’s an area that she would love to be able to help others with.

If you have any questions to ask Hailey or would simply like to share your thoughts, please use the comment section below. Thank you!

Information Provided by Hailey Czerwinski
Spotlight Post Written by Sireen Hamarshah

Register Now for the IEA Student Conference!

On February 8 & 9, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) will be hosting it’s annual student conference for educators which will take place at the Doubletree by Hilton in Bloomington, IL.

This conference is for future teachers throughout Illinois. All students who are in or entering education programs at colleges and universities around the state are encouraged to attend. The conference consists of several professional development sessions/seminars on various teaching topics and will offer attendees breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

On Friday, Feb 8, the sessions are from 3-9pm. On Saturday, Feb 9, the sessions run from 7:30am-3:30pm. Although they are able to commute, students will be given the opportunity to stay the night at the hotel, which is highly encouraged. The dress code for the conference is business attire.

The registration deadline is Monday, February 4, 2019 which can be completed online. Students will have to pay a small fee. If they register on or before January 8, students will receive the early bird discount of $5. Registering between January 9-31 will cost $15. Depending on whether students are commuting or staying the night in the hotel, the total cost will vary. For a breakdown of the pricing, please click here.

For more information on the various sessions offered, please click here.
To register, please click here.

We hope to see you there!


Written by Sireen Hamarshah

Project Wild Workshop

Project Wild

The Student Education Association (SEA) and Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society (KDP) are hosting a training workshop on Monday, February 4th from 4:30-8pm at Governor State University (GSU) in the Literacy Zone.  This training, taught by Dr. Sexton, will provide educators with information and skills to better implement science concepts across other disciplines.  Attendees will receive training certificates and materials after completing the workshop!

In order to attend the workshop a fee of $25 must be paid.  The fee will cover the workshop materials and certificate.  Members of SEA/ KDP have priority registration. Educators in the community are encouraged to sign up and can earn CPDUs for attending.

Space is limited, so please RSVP to Aimee York by January 25th.  Payments are due by January 30th and must be turned into the SEA office (G226) in an envelope labeled “PLT Workshop” and your name.

Any questions or to RSVP, please email Aimee York,
For more information, please visit the project wild website here.

Flyer: flyer, Project Wild Workshop 2.4.19 – SEA&KDP, vF

Written by Keelin Crotty

image, project wild flyer - 2.4.19

SPOTLIGHT – Hannah Gruben

Welcome to the third “spotlight” blog post featuring one of the student leaders of SEA & KDP at Governors State University!

Spotlight Left   This week, our spotlight leader is:   Spotlight Right
SEA Treasurer and KDP Secretary


Hannah Gruben is a 24 year old Senior student in the Elementary Education program with a specialization in English at Governors State University. She aspires to teach 4th or 5th grade students when she graduates in May 2019. 

As she reflects upon her time at GSU, one of her fondest memories is one of her earliest. When she first enrolled, Hannah had to meet with her academic advisor. Her sister and best friend came along to give her a tour of the campus because they are both GSU alumni. She considers it to be one of the funniest tours she’s ever been given.

In her free time, Hannah enjoys several hobbies. For one, she likes to knit. While she’s started several knitting projects for herself that she’s yet to finish, she could knit all day long when she’s creating an item for someone else. Her goal is to knit a mermaid tail blanket for her sister which is one of her largest and most advanced project. She has already collected the material needed to create it and aims to complete it soon. 

In addition, Hannah takes pleasure in writing fiction with future hopes that her work will get published one day. She considers the writer, Stephen King, to be her role model. Hannah believes him to be unbelievably talented and she strives to even remotely reach his level. She states that “There are very few authors that can capture my attention so much that I lose my sense of reality.  It is like I am there with that character every time.  He is definitely the main reason why I want to have my work published and why I love horror stories so much.” 

On a perfect day, you may find Hannah watching her favorite movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, or her favorite TV-show, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, while eating broccoli and chicken, her go-to food items. One of her most beloved Albus Dumbledore line is “One can never have enough socks.” The room would probably be filled with the scent of lavender, patchouli, petrichor, blueberry, fresh linen, and freshly cut grass. She burns a lot of incense!

When she’s not attending class or curling up on her bed reading a horror story by Stephen King, Hannah’s probably working at her job at Texas Roadhouse as a server. She believes that this job has helped her open up and overcome her shyness. On top of this, she’s met some of her favorite people while at this job. Hannah recommends that everyone gain the experience of working as a server or a retail job that deals with the general public. As a result, this will create a more patient, understanding, and less demanding society. She is a strong advocate for people to treat each other with kindness no matter what their job is. Experience as this type of employee will help create kinder people.

While being a server suits her personality and skills, being an accountant surely doesn’t. She couldn’t imagine herself dealing with numbers all the time because she considers mathematics her weakness and she knows that she’d only become frustrated if she was required to perform calculations all day long.

One of Hannah’s biggest accomplishments in her life thus far is when she threw shot put during her senior year of high school. While she’s been pretty athletic her whole life playing sports like volleyball. basketball, and softball, this was the first time she’d shot put. During the last few weeks of the season, she had hit a wall and couldn’t throw past 30 feet even though she’d done it multiple times before.  When the team competed during the last meet, her coach gave her some competitive encouragement and she ended up throwing 36 feet for the first time.  She didn’t place in first place but she ended up shattering her previous record.  This was especially satisfying for her because this was the first time she ever threw shot put and was good at it.  She’s always had a knack for athletics and this only proved it farther. 

If Hannah had to choose one thing she couldn’t live without, it would be fiction. She loves to read, watch movies & TV-shows, write stories, and hear other people’s stories. Moreover, fiction has been something that she’s always held on to and has helped her get through some tough times in her life. Even when she’s working or hanging out with friends, there’s a good chance that she’s thinking about her latest book/show obsession or daydreaming about her own stories. In fact, a song title that best describes her life would be “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees. While this is one of her favorite songs, she constantly daydreams in her everyday life, especially about fiction which she never seems to be able to get out of her mind.

In the next few months, Hannah looks forward to graduating. After what feels like forever, she’s excited to complete her education and begin her career as a teacher. In the next 10 years, Hannah hopes that she’ll have completed and published her first official fiction novel. Down the road, she wants to be remembered for her humor. She loves to make others laugh because laughter opens people up and it’s very encouraging.  

If you have any questions to ask Hannah or would simply like to share your thoughts, please use the comment section below. Thank you!

Information Provided by Hannah Gruben
Spotlight Post Written by Sireen Hamarshah

Workshop Success!

Written by Keelin Crotty

The Student Education Association (SEA) and Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society (KDP) collaborated with the GSU Library to host a free professional development, Media Workshop on Monday, November 12, 2018 in Governor State University’s (GSU) Library.  The workshop, held in room D2430B, was open to GSU students, faculty, staff, and educators in the community.  Educators who attended the professional development workshop were able to earn CPDUs.  The workshop, by Cari Didion GSU Science Librarian and Assistant Professor, demonstrated how to use ten Google Plug-Ins extensions.  The ten extensions presented were: Google Scholar, Google Drive, Honey, full page screen capture, word count tool, Office editing for Docs/ Sheets/ Slides, Bitly, MyBib Toolbar, LastPass, and Screencastify.  All 20 workshop attendees left with an abundance of new knowledge regarding Google Plug-Ins/ extensions that will enhance attendee’s literacy toolbelt and makes online time more productive.

The members of SEA/ KDP would like to thank Cari Didion for her time and effort put into making the Media Workshop a success!

This event was organized by SEA/KDP Committee Chair, Dr. Katy E. Hisrich and GSU Librarian, Alexis Sarkisian.

20181112_153311Michelle Westergaard (VP of SEA/ President of KDP) & Cari Didion (GSU Science Librarian and Assistant Professor)  

20181112_155227Cari Didion (GSU Science Librarian and Assistant Professor) assisting attendees.

Click here to view more photos.

SPOTLIGHT – Michelle Westergaard

Welcome to the second “spotlight” blog post featuring one of the student leaders of SEA & KDP at Governors State University!

Spotlight Left   This week, our spotlight leader is:   Spotlight Right
KDP President and SEA Vice-President


Michelle Westergaard is a 27 year old Senior student in the Elementary Education program with a specialization in Mathematics at Governors State University. She aspires to teach 1st grade students when she graduates in May 2019. 

In May 2018, Michelle was given the opportunity to study abroad for the first time in Slovenia. She considers this unforgettable experience to be her favorite GSU memory thus far. Throughout her trip, she was exposed to the rich history and beauty of Europe which has inspired her to travel more in the future. She believes that everyone should experience Europe at least once in their lifetime. 

Some of Michelle’s biggest accomplishments at GSU is managing her challenging coursework as well as fulfilling her leadership responsibilities as the Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) president and Student Education Association (SEA) vice-president. Just recently, Michelle helped coordinate the KDP Initiation Ceremony on October 10, 2018. Although this event caused additional work and pressure, she is proud of how everything turned out and will never regret her involvement with this event as the KDP chapter president.  

In her personal life, Michelle enjoys spending any free time she has with her two nephews and niece. She takes pride in being their aunt and feels blessed to be active in their childhood. In addition, Michelle frequently travels with her family. Every year, they take a vacation together. This summer, she’ll probably be cruising down a lake on a pontoon boat with her two sisters, two brothers-in-law, boyfriend, and parents.

If she had to choose one thing in her life she couldn’t live without, Michelle would say her family. She considers them to be an amazing support system. They’ve incited her to pursue her elementary education degree and she’s very grateful for their everlasting love and care. Certainly, Michelle’s hero is her father who has always encouraged her to follow her dreams and shares how proud he is of her every step of the way. He is one of the most patient, kind, and empathetic person she’s ever met.

While at home, you might catch her and her boyfriend watching a football game featuring their favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings, on their couch with a bowl of chili or her favorite food, Macaroni & Cheese. If there’s no game playing, Michelle may watch her favorite movie, Dirty Dancing, or re-runs of her favorite TV show, Friends. 

When she’s not at school or at home, Michelle works part-time at her older sister’s wheelchair accessible van business where she delivers vehicles to customers, most often to the Chicago-land airports. As she’s preparing to be an elementary school teacher, Michelle couldn’t see herself teaching high school students. She believes that her personality and skills are much better suited for 6 or 7 year old students. Moreover, high school students are giants. Their height, alone, is intimidating! 🙂

Michelle’s favorite quote is a prayer – “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Furthermore, as December approaches, Michelle can’t wait for the Christmas season. She longs for the fresh smell of pine, cinnamon, and fresh baked cookies.

Since Michelle loves water sports, she would jump at the chance to go parasailing one day. Undoubtedly, the movie title that best describes her life would probably be It’s a Wonderful Life because she always tries to be optimistic of the future and is genuinely grateful of every opportunity she has been given and every person in her life. 

In the next few months, Michelle looks forward to student teaching. She can’t wait to spend every day in a first grade classroom where she hopes to eventually work in one day. In the next 10 years, Michelle envisions that she’ll  be a full-time elementary school teacher, get married, and have children of her own! Down the road, she wants to be remembered by the people she meets as a passionate individual who puts a lot of time and thought towards the people and things she loves. 

If you have any questions to ask Michelle or would simply like to share your thoughts, please use the comment section below. Thank you!

Information Provided by Michelle Westergaard
Spotlight Post Written by Sireen Hamarshah

SPOTLIGHT – Jessica White

Welcome to the first “spotlight” blog post featuring one of the student leaders of SEA & KDP at Governors State University!

Spotlight Left   This week, our spotlight leader is:   Spotlight Right
SEA President and KDP Vice-President


Jessica White is a Senior student in the Early Childhood Education program at Governors State University. In addition, she is pursuing her ESL endorsement. In the future, she hopes to teach 2nd grade

Her favorite memory at GSU is passing Professor Beirdz and Chang’s classes. Jessica’s biggest accomplishment is continuing her education. She thinks that being a student is, by far, one of the most stressful things she’s ever endured. 

In her free time, Jessica likes to read, hang out with friends and family, and cuddle with her cat, Denver. One thing she’s done and would highly recommend that others do is travel to other countries and try different types of food from various cultures. 

On a perfect day, you might see her eating Chinese food, drinking coffee, and watching her favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. Coffee is probably the one thing she can’t live without. 

Jessica is currently 23 years old and works as a server at a breakfast restaurant. She could never see herself working in a job involving sales because she’s not a pushy person. 

She can’t get enough of the smell of rain and freshly clean clothes. One day, she would love to go indoor skydiving. Real skydiving out of a plane is not even an option!

Jessica’s favorite quote: “I am a child of the Moon being raised by the Sun in a world walked by stars and a sky drawn with flowers” – Zara Ventris
The movie title that best describes her life is “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

Jessica considers her mother to be her role model. Without her, Jessica would not be where she is today.

In the next few months, Jessica is looking forward to the end of her final semester at GSU before student teaching and the holidays. In the next 10 years or so, Jessica hopes to be established in her career as a teacher, married with a house, and adoptive mother of several more cats.

In the future, Jessica wants to be a teacher who makes a lasting positive impact on her students.

If you have any questions to ask Jessica or would simply like to share your thoughts, please use the comment section below. Thank you!

Information Provided by Jessica White
Spotlight Post Written by Sireen Hamarshah

Messy (But Fun) Fundraiser!

Written by Keelin Crotty

The Student Education Association (SEA) and Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) hosted the Annual SEA Fundraiser on Thursday October 25, 2018. All who attended the event had an amazing time socializing with peers and professors while getting their hands a little sticky in some whipped cream. That’s right, the SEA Fundraiser’s theme was “Pie your Professor.” Those who donated $2 received a plate of whipped cream and were able to pie a professor in the face. All donations and proceeds will go to the SEA’s Literacy Project and Exceptional Learner Event for Spring 2019.

Some of the professors who volunteered to be pied were Prof. Cunningham, Dr. She, Dr. Cummings, Dr. Hisrich, Dean Dermer, Dr. Harrington, Dr. Vujaklija, Dr. Sharp, Prof. Mahoney, and Dr. Thompson.

The SEA would like to thank all the professors who participated in the fundraiser, and all the students and faculty that made donations to SEA.

This event was organized by Aimee York (SEA Leader, Student), Hailey Czerwinski (SEA Leader, Student), Dr. Marsh (Early Childhood professor), Dr. Pennington (Elementary Education professor), and SEA/KDP Committee Chair, Dr. Katy E.

Please click here for more photos.

Google Chrome Extensions Workshop

Do you use Google Chrome?

If so, did you know that Google offers Chrome-users extension programs that can increase browsing functionality and efficiency?

According to Google, these extensions customize your browsing experience and tailors it to your individual needs or preferences. 

If you would like to know more about Google Chrome extensions that are geared towards those in the field of education, please attend SEA and KDP’s Media Workshop event.
Educators will earn a CPDU for free!

Date: Monday, November 12, 2018
Time: 3:30 – 5pm
Location: D2430B 

The deadline to RSVP is November 9th! Space is limited.
Please contact Aimee York,, to secure your seat.

For more information on Google Chrome extensions, click on the following links.
What are extensions? Google Chrome
What is a Google extension? Bleeping Computer

We hope to see you there!

Here is the event flyer: flyer, media workshop – vF 10.11.18

Google Chrome Extensions

Written by Sireen Hamarshah

Join us TODAY!

The day has finally come!

Pie in Face

When: Thursday, October 25 @ 3-5pm 
Where: Lakeside Lounge/Patio
Who: All students and faculty
What: “Pie” any of the professors who volunteered their faces for only $2.00 per plate. Additional toppings are $0.50 each. 

Check out our promo video here.

Please come out and support us!
All proceeds will fund our literacy project for the community in March 2019.

We hope to see you there!

Flyer: flyer, pie your professors Oct 25 – vF 10.11.18